Sport: First Across

Juan de Fuca Strait, a frigid, 18-mile channel that separates Vancouver Island from the state of Washington, challenges distance swimmers with the same fierce fascination that Mount Everest arouses in mountaineers. Since last April, when the Victoria Times offered $1,000 to the first swimmer to cross the strait, four men and three women have tried for the prize, have been defeated by the channel's fierce tides and unrelenting chop. Last week a barrel-shaped Tacoma logger named Bert Thomas, 29, slipped into the water at Port Angeles, Wash., swam through the night, and eleven hours, 17 minutes and 30 seconds later...

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